Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev met Tuesday with the leader of Latvia a day after the republic's secessionist lawmakers voted to form a volunteer militia in defiance of Moscow.
Few details were immediately available on the 2 1/2-hour talks in Moscow, but a Latvian spokeswoman, Lolita Nikitorovo, said the possibility of presidential rule was not discussed.Soviet parliamentarian Anatoly Denisov said Monday that Gorbachev might personally take control of the Baltic republic after his talks with Latvian President Anatolijs Gorbunovs.
The exact ramifications of presidential rule were not immediately clear, but it could give Gorbachev the authority to disband the republic's parliament and scrap Latvian laws he considers in violation of the Soviet constitution.
The Latvia Parliament voted Monday to form the defense force and fortify public buildings to protect against possible attack by Soviet forces. The move was in direct opposition to an order by the Soviet prosecutor's office for republican governments to disband "illegal armed units." The prosecutor's office also instructed the republics to suspend all legislation that contradicts the Soviet constitution.
French and German foreign ministers in Paris agreed Tuesday to approach Soviet authorities about the use of Kremlin troops in the Baltic republics. French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas reiterated France's "firm condemnation" of the use of force in the republics.